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Sports Science Project Ideas

Project Idea
thumbnail Playing basketball can be hard work. Players not only constantly run around the court, but just dribbling the basketball takes a lot of effort, too. Why is that? It has to do with how the basketball bounces. When the ball hits the court, its bounce actually loses momentum by transferring some of its energy into a different form. This means that to keep the ball bouncing, players must continually put more energy into the ball. In this sports science project, you will determine how high a… Read more
Sports_p037
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
thumbnail Did you know that throwing, kicking, and punting a football all involve the science of projectile motion? A star NFL® quarterback, kicker, and punter each need to have a very good understanding of how a football moves through the air in order to help them win games. In this science project, you will set up a rubber band-powered catapult to represent a field goal kicker, and study how changing the distance from the goalposts affects how hard it is to accurately kick a field goal. Read more
Sports_p059
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This science project requires a kit available from the Science Buddies store. See the Materials and Equipment list for details. Estimated project time includes shipping.
Cost Average ($40 - $80)
Safety Never launch projectiles at people, animals, or anything fragile. Be careful not to get your fingers caught in moving parts of the catapult.
Project Idea
The rebound rating is the ratio of the height the ball bounces to, divided by the height the ball was dropped from. Use the rebound rating to measure the bounciness of new tennis balls vs. balls that have been used for 10, 20, 50, and 100 games. Another idea to explore: does it matter what type of court the ball is used on? (See: Goodstein, 1999, 63–64.) Read more
Sports_p039
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
It's fun to go swimming! To feel the power of your body as you launch yourself into the water. But did you know that swimming isn't just about skill and athleticism? The human body consists of skin, contours, and curves. How the water moves along your body and the clothing you are wearing determines how fast you can go. In this science fair project, you will investigate the effects of a force called drag. You will compare the time it takes to swim 25 meters in a swimsuit versus swimming the… Read more
Sports_p052
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You need to be an excellent swimmer and have access to a swimming pool that is at least 25 meters in length. Do not perform this science fair project if you are not in good health. Get permission from your parents or guardians to do this science fair project.
Material Availability This science fair project requires access to a swimming pool during a time when it is not crowded.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury is possible. This science fair project requires adult supervision in a special facility. Lifeguards must be available.
Project Idea
Have you ever seen a skateboarder jump over an obstacle or slide down a railing? It looks like they are defying the laws of physics when they perform these tricks. It looks like it, but that's not the case. Physics describes the motion of objects and it is a skateboarder's best friend! All of these tricks can be explained by physics. In this sports science fair project, you will learn how speed affects "popping an ollie." The ollie is a basic skateboarding trick, and it's the first step to more… Read more
Sports_p055
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You, or someone you know, must already own a skateboard and safety gear, and know how to skate to perform the ollie trick. You must also have access to a video camera (it should include a timer if you decide to try one of the variations). You should perform the tests in a skateboard park or in a large area where it is legal and safe to skateboard.
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Injury is possible. Adult supervision is required. The person performing the ollie must wear a safety helmet, elbow pads, and knee pads.
Project Idea
thumbnail Do you like to watch the Olympics and see a new world record get set? Have you ever wondered how fast you'd need to go to achieve that world record? Well, in this sports science fair project, you'll find out how to compute speeds needed to achieve world records. Not only that, but you'll learn what speed is, and how to measure it in almost anything that moves! So head for the track, you're on a search for speed! Read more
Sports_p048
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Time Required Long (2-4 weeks)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety Safety gear should always be worn when participating in sports. Choose a safe location at which to run your speed tests.
Project Idea
thumbnail What do Nolan Ryan, Mark Wohlers, Armando Benitez, and Roger Clemens have in common? These men are all major league baseball pitchers who have pitched baseballs at 100 miles per hour or greater! What does it take to throw a baseball this fast? Does it come down to having the biggest muscles? Can a ball thrown this fast also be accurate? In this sports science fair project, you will learn about the biomechanics of pitching. Investigate how body position and physics interact to produce fast… Read more
Sports_p053
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites You should do this sports science fair project in a location where you can tie a clothesline either between two trees or two poles. Since you will be throwing a baseball, make sure that the location is away from windows and other breakable structures.
Material Availability You must have access to a camcorder and baseball equipment. Make sure that the camcorder has a timer and the ability to display the recording in slow motion.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Minor injury is possible. Adult supervision is recommended.
Project Idea
thumbnail Many sports use a ball in some way or another. We throw them, dribble them, hit them, kick them, and they always bounce back! What makes a ball so bouncy? In this experiment you can investigate the effect of air pressure on ball bouncing. Read more
Sports_p007
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Time Required Very Short (≤ 1 day)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Very Low (under $20)
Safety No issues
Project Idea
How much difference does the spiraling motion of a well-thrown football make on the distance of the throw (compared to wobbling, or end-over-end motion of the ball)? Think of a way to reproducibly produce the desired ball motion and launch it with a constant force to find out. (For more information on the physics, see Gay, 2004.) Read more
Sports_p028
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Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Project Idea
thumbnail Have you ever noticed that when you drop a basketball, its bounce does not reach the height you dropped it from? Why is that? When a basketball bounces, such as on a basketball court, its bounce actually loses momentum by transferring energy elsewhere. This means that to dribble the basketball, players must continually replace the transferred energy by pushing down on the ball. But what happens to the "lost" energy? As we know from physics, energy is not really lost, it just changes form. One… Read more
Sports_p038
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Time Required Short (2-5 days)
Prerequisites Must be able to dribble a basketball 100 times in a row quickly.
Material Availability An infrared thermometer is required to do this science project. See the Materials and Equipment list for details on where to buy one.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues
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